1. Archive


trucker as salesman

it's too good to be true, so don't say no

What a deal. The world famous Ritz Hotel of London going for $380 million, about half of its actual value. So investor Terence Collins handed over about $1.5 million as a down payment to the dealmaker, Anthony Lee, who was no ordinary salesman. In his real life, Lee happened to be an unemployed British truck driver. In his fake life, he talked of being a close friend and associate of the hotel owners, Frederick and David Barclay, a couple of billionaire brothers, thus explaining why he could negotiate such a great price. No surprise, the sale never happened. And the money never got returned. Prosecutors said that as soon as Lee got the cash, he split it with a friend and went on a spending spree. That was in 2006. On Friday, Lee, 49, was all out of dealmaking. A jury convicted him of theft and a judge promised an "immediate and quite substantial" sentence.


Another big win, and more millions

Once, twice, three times a Texas lottery millionaire - now it's four. Joan R. Ginther, a native of Bishop, Texas, made her fourth appearance Monday at lottery headquarters in Austin to collect seven figures, the Caller-Times in Corpus Christi reported Friday. Ginther, 63, won $10 million on a scratch-off ticket. Before that, she won $5.4 million in a Lotto jackpot in 1993, $2 million with a scratch-off ticket in 2006 and $3 million with a scratch-off ticket in 2008. Total: $20.4 million. She now lives in a place called Las Vegas.


Two coroners don't mind double duty

A couple of deputy coroners were having dinner at a steakhouse in central Pennsylvania on Wednesday and an unexpected job turned up. Judy Pleskonko and Debra Smeal were still wearing their scrubs when a 15-year-old boy near them started choking on a piece of meat. Pleskonko performed the Heimlich maneuver on the teen. Smeal said she and her friend routinely save lives in their other jobs: Pleskonko is a hospital nurse and Smeal is a volunteer paramedic. Pleskonko said they made sure to leave the restaurant without anyone noticing they were driving a vehicle marked "Coroner's Office."


Up in the sky, it's that record-setter

Adili Wuxor of China plans to walk on a tightrope from an island off the southern city of Xiamen to the shore in October. Don't expect him to fall. Wuxor broke another world record Friday after spending more than five hours a day for 60 days crossing a wire above Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium. China's "prince of tightrope walking" is a regular in Guinness World Records, now holding six records for various tightrope-related stunts.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources.